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Tropical Fish

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Steeley    9

Whenever I buy a pair of tropical fish, usually barbs or danios, one of them always dies. One always grows and thrives, while the other stays the same size, is fine for a week or two, then mysteriously kicks the bucket.

Water quality isn't the problem - perfect ph and temperature, and like I said, one of the pair always lives having the time of their life.

Is it a dominance thing? Maybe one killing the other?

You reckon it'd be better if I bought only one fish of a species in future?

Any help would be appreciated.

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figgy    2

What kind of fish do you buy?

Are they aggressive?

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Phoenix2004    0
What kind of fish do you buy?

Are they aggressive?

I'm guessing this will be his problem.

But i do work for a pet store (3rd job, part time), so if you'd be kind enough

to answer the question, I will be most willing to help you

solve your problem.

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HeavyTwenty    0

Many sources have recommended getting 5 fish of the same species because sometimes if you have pair, the dominant one will annoy/molest/harass the weaker one.

Anyways, I'm still having the same problem with my molly/guppy tank. Bought 1 male/2 female of mollies/guppies... both the male molly/guppy died. Highly annoying.

Also, what size tank do you have?

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csabo2    0

i bet one is drowning the other one....

no but seriously ive had the same problem in the past. i never caught them in the act but i think they were duking it out

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Steeley    9

I don't know the specific names anymore...but it's always the barbs and danios. I know barbs are agressive, and the one barb I do have loved to chase it around a lot. The woman at the pet store said only keep one barb because any more and they gang up and attack other fish. She didn't say that about the danios though, so I bought two.

It's a 19L/5Gallon tank.

Seems from what you guys have said I should either only buy one of a species, or a lot of the same species...not a pair.

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Fred Derf    217
Whenever I buy a pair of tropical fish, usually barbs or danios, one of them always dies. One always grows and thrives, while the other stays the same size, is fine for a week or two, then mysteriously kicks the bucket.

Water quality isn't the problem - perfect ph and temperature, and like I said, one of the pair always lives having the time of their life.

Is it a dominance thing? Maybe one killing the other?

You reckon it'd be better if I bought only one fish of a species in future?

Any help would be appreciated.

Take a sample of your water to PetSmart and let them test the amonia, nitrate and nitrite levels (along with pH and whatever else). It's free.

Barbs (except Cherry Barbs) and Danios are schooling fish and generally like to be in groups of at least four if not six.

Most Barbs (except Cherry Barbs) are semi-aggressive while Danios are community. Generally you should not mix types.

Are you changing 20% of your water every two to three weeks? Has the tank fully cycled (aka grown the healthy bacteria that eats the bad bacteria)? To cycle the tank you need to keep a very small number of fish alive for the first six weeks before adding additional fish (and even then a few at a time).

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HeavyTwenty    0

I blame it on the small tank. If I remember correctly, barbs do bite at each other's fins and such, so they have little space to maneuver/run. Not to mention, 5 gallons of water is not very safe in the first place.

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Steeley    9

I know it's not a water quality problem - PH is 7, and I use a water conditioner that takes out ammonia/chlorine/etc. Temperature is 26 - sometimes goes to 28 in the heat of the day. Yep, I do the whole water change thing too. The tank is fully cycled too.

I've learnt all of those lessons in the past...most times the hard way.

When I buy fish I tell the shop owner what I have and how many, and she always tells me what can go happily with them. The danios, she said, would be fine because there was only one small barb in the tank and they're not too bad when they're by themselves.

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Fred Derf    217
I don't know the specific names anymore...but it's always the barbs and danios. I know barbs are agressive, and the one barb I do have loved to chase it around a lot. The woman at the pet store said only keep one barb because any more and they gang up and attack other fish. She didn't say that about the danios though, so I bought two.

It's a 19L/5Gallon tank.

Seems from what you guys have said I should either only buy one of a species, or a lot of the same species...not a pair.

You can get away with a single Cherry Barb. Unlike other barbs, they don't school and they are community fish. They also max out at 2" which is good for a small tank.

You can't start a 5G tank off with three fish and expect it to cycle. It'll build up on toxins before the healthy bacteria can catch up. Well, I guess you probably could if you changed 20% of the water every week and applied lots of tank starter chemicals.

Personally I'd recommend starting with one Cherry Barb. The add a small Gourami or two (one of the types that max out at 2"). Then maybe an Oto Cat. That's it, you're done, it's a small tank.

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Steeley    9

Thanks guys. Just needed to know what the possibilities were, so now I can rule out some things and take it from there. Cheers.

Edit: It's not a starter tank...I've had that one barb in it for months because the fish shop had crappy fish stocks this winter.

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Fred Derf    217
Thanks guys. Just needed to know what the possibilities were, so now I can rule out some things and take it from there. Cheers.

Edit: It's not a starter tank...I've had that one barb in it for months because the fish shop had crappy fish stocks this winter.

Regardless of whether you'd ever buy fish from PetSmart. They do offer free water tests.

Beyond amonia and chlorine (which are fairly easy to deal with), they will also test your nitrite/nitrate levels which are far more dangerous to your fish.

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HaLeon    0

did you put them inside new water? you got to let the water stay overnight before you can put your fish inside

also you have to put the whole bag into the tank first and let the fish get used to the temperature inside the tank, before you release it intothe water

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zhangm    1,335

In a 5 gallon tank, be very cautious that you may destabilize the nitrogen cycle in the tank even with a small addition such as a single fish.

How much do you feed and how often? Your tank size is NOT forgiving at all. Very small portions every other day is enough to support the fish and not overload the tank.

What is your filtration system, and how often/what method do you use to clean it? Filtration in a small tank is important. It is not recommended to simply toss your filter pad (if your model is equipped with such). Rinse in old aquarium water and reuse. Its cheaper, and helps preserve the collection of beneficial bacteria living in your filter.

Are there any plants in the tank? Gravel? Supplimentary aeration? (These aren't critical, but they do help nurture the "good" bacteria which break ammonia down into nitrite and then nitrates, and can give a tiny boost to the population capacity of a tank).

Last prices I've heard were that tanks go for around a dollar/gallon now. I suggest purchasing at least a 10 gallon tank (skip a movie or something), or even better, a 20-30 gallon tank. Large tanks support more of a community, and are MUCH more stable than smaller tanks in a variety of ways including temperature, nitrogen cycle, general water quality, etc. They also promote better health by reducing stress levels.

Don't barbs prefer lower pH, around 6.5? Just kidding, don't do anything with your water unless it is extreme (lower than 6, or above 8). Without specific symptoms, I can't give a good diagnosis. Could be stress, could be aggression, could be internal parasites that are killing off your fish. Just remember that a pet store isn't a healthy place, and any fish you bring home will be anywhere from slightly stressed, to having a completely compromised immune symptom. If you can't get a new tank, I suggest keeping the tank dark and acclimating your new fish very carefully. Keep the tank dark for a few days to reduce stress levels. That's about it...

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Steeley    9

Just doesn't make sense to me that other fish in the tank absolutely love it. The swim around and play and hide and all that - and have lasted a long time. That's the problem - the ones that live really do live, which makes it seem like it's not a water problem or disease at all.

But you're right, 19 litres is very small for a tank, but that's all I've got for now. And it wasn't as cheap as $1/gallon - it was about $AU55 when I got it.

The filter sucks water up out of the tank, aerates it as it goes through a pad, and then charcoal, then it gets filtered through some balls, then goes back in the tank.

I was about to buy some live plants for the tank, but the lady in the shop said in a roundabout way that it's a waste of money for tropicals and would just mess up my tank.

I'm starting to think I won't go to that shop again.

The tank has gravel, some fake plants, and an aquarium stone for them to hide in.

I don't think I should put any more fish in there - I'll save for a bigger tank - from what you've all been saying it's most likely the cause of all the trouble. However it was an established tank, not a new tank, and I check PH and temp every day...nitrate? possibly...get a new tank.

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Fred Derf    217
I was about to buy some live plants for the tank, but the lady in the shop said in a roundabout way that it's a waste of money for tropicals and would just mess up my tank.

The two cheapest types of live plants are very messy. Look for a Moneywort plant or something more solidly built. They are less likely to get eaten and it's easier on your filter (which sounds like a strange filter to me).

10 gallon rectangular tanks are often very cheap (<C$10 without a lid) but they don't match the appearance of the curved front tanks with a proper lid (which is probably what you have based on what you paid).

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